Facebook has announced a range of new video features and tools as part of its presentation to the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam this week.
The new updates relate to Facebook Live, Watch Parties and Creator Studio - here's an overview of each element.
Facebook's adding a range of new features to Facebook Live, including Live rehearsals, replay trimming and simulcast Live broadcasting.
On rehearsals, Facebook says that it will now provide an option for publishers to broadcast their Live videos to Page admins and editors only, enabling them to test their ideas before sharing them to a larger audience.
Live video creators have been calling for a rehearsal option for some time, enabling them to iron out the kinks before sharing with the world. It's a simple addition, but one that will no doubt prove popular with those looking to make best use of the option. The option will also be available via the Live API.
Facebook's also providing a new 'Trimming' option so that publishers can cut off the beginning and end parts of their Live broadcast replays.
"Publishers often start a Live stream before the action begins, and this “stand by” slate can make the critical first seconds of the recorded video less engaging. With the trimming feature, publishers can specify exactly when they want the action to begin, or cut off the last few seconds of the broadcast as desired."
Most video recording options now have a similar trim tool built-in, so it's mostly moving in line with general video trends. And definitely, as Facebook notes, those first seconds - when broadcasters are often saying their hellos and waiting for people to join - can be painful when checking out a replay.
Facebook is also extending the maximum duration of Live videos to 8 hours when broadcasting via the API, up from the current 4-hour limit.
"We know that some publishers require longer broadcasting times to accommodate things like sporting events, news days and gaming broadcasts, so this update will enable them to capture the full length of these events. For example, NASA used this new capability to broadcast an 8-hour space walk."
Facebook did announce a continuous live-stream API back in 2016, which enabled selected publishers to broadcast 24/7, though that option does not enable replays, and is still only available to selected partners. The 8 hour limit will now apply to everyone else.
Facebook's also adding in a new simulcast option, which will enable Live video publishers to "broadcast simultaneously to more than one online streaming service" via the Live API, which could make it easier to share your content to a larger audience, while Facebook has also now added Live to Facebook Lite, bringing it to a new user group.
Live video continues to show great results in driving engagement, a key element for maximizing reach on the platform, so if you haven't considered it before, maybe its worth giving the option another look. These new tools will add to your capacity with the option - though some technical expertize is requires to maximize the benefits of these updates.
In addition to boosting Live, Facebook's also keen to emphasize its Watch Party option, which enables users to watch video content as a group, and comment on the same in real-time. According to Facebook, people are 8x more likely to comment on videos in a Watch Party than when watching on their own, adding another consideration for your Facebook video options, in order to maximize engagement (and reach).
To get the most out of your Watch Party, Facebook is now adding Watch Party scheduling, which generates an announcement post where people can opt-in to be notified when the Watch Party begins.
Facebook's also adding Watch Party replays, which will showcase the video and related discussion generated within the Party, so that people who didn't catch it live can still get the full experience.
And interestingly for brands, Facebook will now also enable Pages to tag business partners in branded content Watch Parties "so that both parties can see insights on the performance of the Watch Party". That could be great for influencer or business partnerships, helping to reduce costs (by spreading the load), and maximize monetization opportunities of Watch Parties as a business tool.
For instance, using the example in the image above, a make-up company could partner with a beauty spa in a cross-promotional effort, with both companies now able to glean relevant demographic insights from the event.
And finally, Facebook is also adding new metrics to Creator Studio to help Pages better understand how their Watch Parties are driving viewership.
The two new metrics are:
- Minutes Viewed - Shows the total amount of watch time accrued in a Watch Party
- Unique 60s Viewers - Shows the total number of unique users that watched at least 60 seconds in a Watch Party
The new tools add to the capacity of Watch Parties as a promotional tool, and given the noted engagement metrics, they could be a bigger consideration for your video strategy in 2020.
Creator Studio has become a key focus for Facebook in recent months, with new features including native Instagram scheduling being added into the expanding app.
Adding to its functionality, Facebook is now also adding a new visualization to its 'Loyalty Insights' element, which will show you which of your videos are driving returning viewers.
As per Facebook:
"These visuals enable creators to understand which videos their loyal fans want to see so they can create more of them. Previously, only the number of returning viewers was surfaced to Pages in aggregate. This will be available in the coming months."
Facebook's also adding a new Distribution metric in Creator Studio, which will allocate a score to each video’s performance based on the Page’s historic average across a range of metrics - including 1 Minute Views, Average Minutes Watched, and Retention.
While Creator Studio will now also support 13 new languages for auto-captioning, adding to the four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) already available.
The languages being added are: Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, Italian, Malay, Russian, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Pages can choose to enable the feature in Creator Studio in the composer, under the “Subtitles and Captions” tab.
And lastly, Facebook is also expanding the range in which you can schedule Instagram and IGTV posts.
"Pages can schedule Instagram content up to 6 months in advance for more convenient content planning and management."
Facebook says that its also working on adding post-editing features as well, a key pain point for those who've been using Creator Studio for Instagram scheduling thus far.
There's a heap in here, a heap of tools to consider for your video content planning, especially as you start looking towards 2020. Video remains a key consideration, given the engagement benefits it can provide, and these options add to the ways in which you can maximize your Facebook and Instagram video efforts.